International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

French anthropologist Philippe Descola (1949–) is one of the most influential disciples of Claude Lévi-Strauss. Between 1976 and 1979, he conducted ethnographic fieldwork among the Achuar Jivaros of the Ecuadorian Amazon, studying in particular their relationship to the environment and the networks of sociability between humans and non-humans living in the forest. Gradually extending his thinking to other societies, he developed a comparative anthropology of the way in which human societies conceive of relations between humans and non-humans and of the continuities and discontinuities that unite or differentiate them. He joined the Ecole de hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in 1984. Between 2000 and 2019, he was a professor at the Collège de France, holding the chair of anthropology of nature. His work offers a way to go beyond the dualism between nature and society and to study the relationships between human societies and the environment. He is the author, among other works, of: In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia (1994); The Spears of Twilight: Life and Death in the Amazon Jungle (1996); Nature and Society (with G. Pálsson, 1996); Beyond Nature and Culture (2013); and Les formes du visible (2021).

Keywords: Anthropology of Nature | Philosophy | Anthropological Theory | Totemism | Ecuador | Achuar | Animism | Analogism | Naturalisme | Non-human | Human-Animal Relations | Landscape | Nature | Ecology | Image | Claude Lévi-Strauss

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